AST Skater Spotlight Series – Meet Zoi

Our Adults Skate Too Skater Spotlight Series is a bi-weekly blog where you get to know your fellow adult skaters from all over the world! For our next edition, you will get to meet Zoi! She is an ice dancing-manager-musician-dancer from the US! Read more about her very first time competing (at Sectionals nonetheless!), how the Pyeongchang Olympics inspired her to begin skating as an adult, her advice to other adult skaters, and more!   

What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

My name is Zoi a.k.a. @icedancedame 🙂 I’m originally from Denmark but moved to the United States as a little kid, and I’m a manager at an academic library. I’m also a musician and dancer!

What’s your story? How did you get into figure skating?

I started skating during my final year at university. I’d wanted to take skating lessons for many years, but told myself I wouldn’t have time until I’d finished my Bachelors degree. But as I was watching Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win gold again at the Pyeongchang Olympics, I said to myself “what are you waiting for?” and decided on the spot to sign up for LTS classes. It was the best decision I ever made! Going from a spectator and fan to actually getting out on the ice myself was an incredible feeling. I fell head over heels with skating! The joy that even a simple one-foot glide brought me helped me stay motivated for my university Finals, and for the life that awaited me post-grad. And the rest is history, as they say!

I pretty much eat, breathe, and sleep skating at this point. To be honest, I have zero regrets about waiting until I was an adult to start skating. I believe it was the perfect time in my life, and while I know some things are not physically possible for adult-start skaters, I have many great role models of just how much you can achieve as an adult! If I had started earlier, I wouldn’t have had the time or resources to support this all-consuming sport, nor would I necessarily have met the people who have become integral supporters and confidants in my skating journey.

What does your skating schedule look like?

I typically skate 4-5 days a week, skating on practice ice before work, and occasionally on the weekends. Most weeks, I have two private lessons and one group lesson. I’m primarily an ice dancer, but have gotten more and more into freestyle skating as well, so I sometimes find myself wishing I could have more than two private lessons a week because there’s so many things I want to work on! My coach jokes that I always want to cover 50 things per lesson LOL.

What has been the most rewarding or exciting moment in your skating career?

I competed for the first time ever last month at the 2020 Adult Midwestern Sectionals and it was an incredible experience all around. In my Pre-Bronze solo pattern dance event, I took home the Bronze medal – 3rd place out of 9 skaters – which was very unexpected and exciting! My goal for the competition was just to skate my best and have a good time, so actually medaling was such a rush! All those early morning practices really paid off. In my freestyle event, I was the only skater, but that “gold” medal felt well-deserved because I managed to skate a clean program, better than I’d ever skated it at home. I think I was able to channel my adrenaline into positive energy instead of nervous energy, which gave me a big boost. It was also incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by so many awesome and long-time competitors! I hope to spend a #lifetimeonice just like them!

What was the most difficult moment of your skating career and how did you overcome it?

I’m a perfectionist and I set standards for myself that are too high / too hard. I get really frustrated when I can’t live up to these standards or get upset at myself for not picking up new elements immediately. My coach and I have had to work on managing my expectations, and I have to remind myself that this is about having fun on the ice, and that I’m the only one putting pressure on myself. It’s okay to step back sometimes and decide you’re going to sleep in tomorrow instead of getting up to practice, or that you’re going to push back that test session. Listen to your body, don’t compare yourself to others, and remember why you started skating in the first place.

What’s your favorite element to practice?

I LOVE ice dance more than anything, so I’m always happiest when ice dancing, especially partnered! I also really enjoy MITF exercises and spirals of any kind. 🙂

What motivates you?

Watching ice dance is what made me fall in love with skating, and I get chills whenever I watch my favorite programs from my favorite teams. (Virtue & Moir will always be #1 in my heart!) It makes me want to create beautiful shapes and moments on the ice, even if I’ll never have twizzles like them. 😉Another motivation is looking at other adult skaters, including my awesome coach, and being inspired by the level of skill and smoothness they’ve achieved. Adult skaters rock!

How has skating impacted your life?

Skating has truly changed my life! Working full-time can be really stressful, and I’m grateful that skating has become an incredible stress-reliever and creative outlet for me. I’m a much happier, more driven person ever since I started skating. Friends and family members noticed the positive change in me within the first year of skating! It gives me a reason to get up every morning and I’ve never been more passionate about anything in my life! Skating fills me with SO much joy, and I will talk anyone’s ear off about the benefits of skating if they’ll listen! It keeps me active, challenges me to improve myself, and connects me to the wonderful worldwide community of adult skaters!

What’s the best advice your coach has given you?

I wouldn’t say that there’s one piece of advice that sticks out specifically, but I can say that I feel incredibly lucky everyday to have found such a wonderful coach who always knows what to say. We share a lot of commonalities, so he really understands what I’m feeling when I’m struggling with something, and knows how to explain it in a way that works for my learning style. He’s so supportive and always has my back; making him proud is a constant goal of mine! He’s also one of my biggest inspirations as he started skating as an adult, too, and I’m so impressed at his achievements!

What’s your advice for other adult skaters out there?

It’s never too late! You can start when you’re 5 or when you’re 75 and have an equally incredible journey on the ice at either age. You define your own success. This is a sport that will challenge you, motivate you, drive you crazy, and make you fall in love with the feeling of gliding every single day.

Specific advice: 1) Make sure you get the right equipment to support you in this journey – don’t let an inexperienced skate tech tell you that you’re fine in a recreational boot. 2) Get a coach who is supportive of adults, and who understands how adults work / how we can best learn and improve! 3) Reach out to other adult skaters for advice and friendship. 4) Have fun!

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